This past weekend was the Middle School Friends annual gathering at Camp Swatara. This is not a traditional gathering in that our Middle School Friends gathering takes place at the same time and in the same location as a Young Friends (high school) gathering and the annual Caln Quarter family overnight. This means that there were folks of every age represented, and we took full advantage in celebrating our 8th graders who will be moving up into the Young Friends program next year!
The collaboration started when several representatives from the Young Friends crew met with our 8th graders and answered questions about their experience joining the high school program. The representatives included a recent graduate of the Middle School Friends program who is currently experiencing her first year in Young Friends, and an older Young Friend, who recently joined the program without any previous experience with PYM youth programs.
After the Q & A session, 8th graders were invited to join the Young Friends community for our annual hike up the rock pile. Each 8th grader was paired with a Young Friend during the hike, and was able to ask more personal questions as well as get to know someone from the Young Friends community in a one-on-one setting.
On Saturday evening, 8th graders got to participate in what is becoming an annual tradition in Middle School Friends: Throwing pies in Matt and Kody’s faces. This tradition appears to hold great spiritual significance to many within the MSF community.
Finally, on Sunday morning we held our bridging ceremony, in which we said goodbye to twelve (12!) wonderful members of our community. Amongst our graduates we had folks who have been to every gathering since 6th grade, and people who were participating in their first gathering. Each was given a certificate of graduation, a temporary tattoo, and a warm welcome to the Young Friends community. After receiving their certificate, each 8th grader moved over to a section of benches occupied by Young Friends, who enthusiastically welcomed Middle Schoolers to sit beside them.
Congratulations to all of the 8th graders who’ve moved on this year, and welcome to the Young Friends community!